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'We have a long way to go:' Descendants of first black Americans on race relations

Updated : 2019-08-06 10:55:01

Four hundred years after the first ship carrying enslaved Africans arrived on the coast of Virginia, the descendants of one of the first black American families say race relations in the United States still have "a long way to go."

The Tucker family, who trace their ancestry to the 1624 census of the then English colony of Virginia, has experienced every chapter of African-American history. From captivity on ships to slavery on plantations, to the 1861-1865 US Civil War waged over legal slavery, 20th century discrimination laws and lynchings, the civil rights struggle and to the Black Lives Matter movement, racial disparities course through life and politics in the United States.

"The race issues have always been here," said Vincent Tucker, the president of the William Tucker 1624 Society who believes he is nine or 10 generations removed from William Tucker, born in Virginia in 1624 after his parents were transported from present-day Angola in 1619. "We have a long way to go," Tucker, 57, said.

The entrance to the Tucker family cemetery is seen in Hampton, Virginia, 400 years after William Tucker's parents were brought from Angola on the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
The entrance to the Tucker family cemetery is seen in Hampton, Virginia, 400 years after William Tucker's parents were brought from Angola on the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
A grave marker is seen in the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton, Virginia US, 400 years after William Tucker's parents were brought from Angola on the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
A grave marker is seen in the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton, Virginia US, 400 years after William Tucker's parents were brought from Angola on the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
Verrandall S Tucker, a descendant of William Tucker whose parents were brought from Angola on the first ship to bring enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619, pays respects to a family member buried at the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
Verrandall S Tucker, a descendant of William Tucker whose parents were brought from Angola on the first ship to bring enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619, pays respects to a family member buried at the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
A flower lays on a grave in the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
A flower lays on a grave in the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
Brenda Tucker, a descendant of one of the first black Americans William Tucker whose parents were brought from Angola on the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619, pays her respects at a family member's grave at the Tucker family cemetery. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
Brenda Tucker, a descendant of one of the first black Americans William Tucker whose parents were brought from Angola on the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619, pays her respects at a family member's grave at the Tucker family cemetery. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
A flower lays on a grave in the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
A flower lays on a grave in the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
David M Given, director of archaeology at Jamestown Rediscovery, inspects artefacts at the Jamestown Rediscovery Center in Jamestown, Virginia. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
David M Given, director of archaeology at Jamestown Rediscovery, inspects artefacts at the Jamestown Rediscovery Center in Jamestown, Virginia. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
Shirley Petteway, a descendant of William Tucker whose parents were brought from Angola on the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619, pays respects to a family member buried at the Tucker family cemetery. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
Shirley Petteway, a descendant of William Tucker whose parents were brought from Angola on the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619, pays respects to a family member buried at the Tucker family cemetery. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy
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